Normal? Abnormal? By What Measure?

Google defines Normal as: [ˈnôrməl]ADJECTIVE conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected. Google then defines Abnormal as: [abˈnôrməl]ADJECTIVE deviating from what is normal or usual, typically in a way that is undesirable or worrying.

How would YOU define normal? Yes, context matters, but is there REALLY a line of normalcy? Why do we need to “conform” to be considered “normal” and what typical standard expects us to “conform”? And why do we keep MEASURING ourselves by these human-defined-yet-unnamed-standards.

Alright. Lets start on the positive. When I found out my Enneagram Number and dove deeper into my profile, I wanted to go on a date with my husband and share mine and get to know his. It AMAZED me how spot on it was for me in how it defined some of the things that were challenging and what came easier for me. Simply knowing this information created confidence and encouraged connection. This information provided me feedback and made me feel somewhat ‘normal’ with my profile and personality. Though when I engaged in conversation and reflection, the word “better” and “worse” arose. This made me go down the rabbit hole of thinking- is one Enneagram profile BETTER than another? Was mine WORSE to have? Comparative Language Arose.

As human beings, we are wired to be comparative. What we compare and how we communicate our comparisons, are fundamental to how we connect, correct and keep relationships. It takes self-control and self-awareness to be uplifting and empowering with our language and thoughts. My wonder is why does being a parent create a gravitation of judgement? I understand that our kids deserve the BEST, yet defining what is considered BEST creates the ‘good’ parent and ‘bad’ parent paradigm. What makes this even more complicated is the neurodiversity of our children and selves. Atop of this also lies our intergenerational disciplinary practices and beliefs (which creates a one-size-fits-all thinking). What is often considered normal for you, is far from what is considered normal for someone else. Yet this shouldn’t divide us because we could actually be learning something from each other.

Trying to act normal is the most unnatural behavior of all.

Sharyn McCrumb

Most commonly we compare human behavior. As a parent of a child with neurodiversity, this creates a social and relational challenge. Oftentimes, when my child is experiencing a sensory meltdown, it is often perceived as ‘failed parenting.’ Considering this, it impacts decision making, opportunity and relationship development. It subconsciously creates a secondary trauma. Yet, it also creates the most genuine and rich friendships and relationships with those that understand the challenges with raising a neurodiverse child. I have equally learned that what’s considered “normal” for them is not the same “normal” for me- yet we embrace the “normal” designed by each member of their family. Therefore, we are relationally rich and diversity dense, which in turn makes us feel more WHOLE.

Which leads me back to the definition of “NORMAL.” Is this definition (contextually and relationally) holding you back? Are you meeting your full potential or are you limiting yourself? Are you engaged in meaningful, authentic relationships? Or are you holding back because of fear of judgment?

Considering the definition (from Google) that “Normal” is considered CONFORMING to a STANDARD and “Abnormal” being a DEVIATION of that….. what standards are you CONFORMING to that may be DEVIATING you from your TRUE self?

*Side Note- as I composed this blog, “neurodiverse” is red-underlined and is being suggested to be changed to “neurodiversity.” It’s only registering as a noun, not an adjective. Hmm……


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